"The World Should Open Itself To Cuba, and Cuba to the World"
So urged Servant of God Pope John Paul II during his visit to Cuba in 1998. A good portion of the world was represented in the Benedictine Monastery in Havana recently as they welcomed a delegation from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Cardinal Séan O’Malley concluded the visit in the Monastery church - a former Carmelite convent [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E1BQiYrXFtU] - and led the group in the great hymn to the Blessed Mother - Hail, Queen of Heaven known by its Latin opening words Ave Regina Caeolorum. [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VqxDljqBhDg] The monks hail from Asia (Philippines) Africa (Togo) and Europe (Germany). Together with the North Americans, the “two or three gathered” in prayer that day showed how the Catholic Church - from the East to the West - was opening itself more and more to the Cuban people.
Headed by Cardinal Séan O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston [http://www.cardinalseansblog.org/2009/08/28/visiting-cuba/] and accompanied by Bishop Tom Wenski of Orlando and Bishop Oscar Cantu from San Antonio, the group traveled to Havana, Holguin and Santiago de Cuba where they visited the Shrine to Our Lady of Charity [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BSdcSvPBj_Q] and other major cities in Cuba an expression of solidarity with the Cuban Church. It was especially important since the Cuban people are still trying to recover from the series of hurricanes that hit the island last September that destroyed a half a million homes. Only half of them have so far been rebuilt.